The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017 is now open!

We welcome submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing (the competition is open to anyone who has not published a complete book in the category entered).

Simply fill in the entry form and send it to us with your entry and fee of UK Sterling £6.00 if entering one category, £10.00 for two and £15.00 for three categories.

The closing date is 5pm GMT on 14 July 2017.

Please click here to download an entry form as a Word file or as a PDF, or email Only entries with an accompanying entry form will be accepted.

£300 will be awarded to the winner of each category and the work will be published in Wasafiri.


1. The competition is open to any nationality and any age group.

2. The word limit is 3000 maximum (or a maximum of 5 poems).

3. Work submitted must not have been previously published (this includes self-publishing and publishing on websites, personal or otherwise) or have won a prize in another competition.

4. Work must be typed, double-spaced, on A4 paper, single sided only.

5. Do not write your name or provide any other form of identification on your manuscript. All submissions will be considered without the judges knowing the identity of the entrant.

6. Do not enter more than one poem on a single page.

7. Work will only be accepted if accompanied by an official entry form and fee. If you require acknowledgement of receipt, entries must also be accompanied by a stamped addressed postcard.

8. We regret that manuscripts cannot be altered after submission.

9. If emailing your manuscript, please send it as a Word attachment. Do not paste it into the body of an email. Please also provide a list of accompanying documentation (e.g. Paypal confirmation; entry form; delivery of cheque).

10. All electronic submissions will receive an acknowledgement.

11. Fee is per category: the entrant can submit a maximum of one entry per category – in the Poetry category, one submission can include five poems.

12. Entries must be received at Wasafiri no later than 5pm GMT on 14 July 2017. We regret that we cannot accept entries received after this date.

13. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence or discussion concerning the judges’ decision will be entered into.

14. The copyright will remain with the winning authors. Acceptance of the prize will indicate the author’s agreement to their work being published in Wasafiri and inclusion in a possible anthology of the best work received.

15. Shortlisted entries will be published on the Wasafiri website.

16. Wasafiri reserves the right to edit the winning entries.

17. Failure to meet the conditions of entry will mean that a submission is automatically disqualified from the competition.

18. No person may win more than one prize.

19. The competition is not open to members of the Wasafiri Board.

20. Shortlisted authors will be notified by email and will be invited to the prize-giving event (date and venue tbc).

21. A list of shortlisted authors will be published on the Wasafiri website in Autumn 2017 and can be posted out if requested.

22. Manuscripts will not be returned.

23. The entry fee is non-refundable.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s judges are…

Susheila Nasta MBE (Chair) Founding Editor of Wasafiri and Emeritus Professor of Modern Literature at the Open University.

Sabrina Mahfouz Award-winning poet, playwright and screenwriter and former Sky Arts Scholar for Poetry, Mahfouz’s work has been performed in the UK and the US

Andrea Stuart Writer and historian, author of Showgirls which was adapted for stage and screen, and the award-winning The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine

Boyd Tonkin World renowned writer and journalist, currently Writer and Art Critic at The Independent and Chair of the Man Booker Prize

Background to the prize:

The path to literary success can sometimes seem elusive, even for those with talent. So, in 2009, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize was launched to support new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background. With a list of high profile judges over the years including Brian Chikwava, Colin Grant, Maya Jaggi, Jackie Kay, Tabish Khair, Toby Litt and Blake Morrison, the NWP has boosted the confidence of writers in competitive times. In the words of one winner: ‘Before I was shortlisted I was … convinced I was never going to write another poem again .. thank you so much for this, I never … want to stop writing.’

The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017 is open for entries!

We welcome submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing (the competition is open to anyone who has not published a complete book in the category entered).

'Before I was shortlisted I was ... convinced I was never going to write another poem again .. thank you so much for this, I never ... want to stop writing.' Amaal Said


NWP 2016

New Writing Prize 2016

The 2016 Wasafiri New Writing Prize winners and shortlist Winners: Niamh MacCabe for Nobody Knows the Shivering Stars (Fiction) Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné for Portrait of my father as a grouper (Poetry) Shiva Rahbaran for Massoumeh: An Iranian Family in Times of Revolution (Life Writing) In addition to…


New Writing Prize 2015

The 2015 Wasafiri New Writing Prize winners and shortlist Winners: Uschi Gatward for My Brother is Back (Fiction) Amaal Said for The Girl Grew (Poetry) Louise Kennedy for A Suitable Family (Life Writing) In addition, the following three entrants were given special commendations: Akwaeke Emezi for ‘W…


New Writing Prize 2014

The winners and shortlisted entries There are four winners this year, two of the poems being too close to call. Our congratulations go to: Fiction: The Bearer by Simon van der Velde (UK)  Life Writing:  Seeing Double by Aurvi Sharma (USA) Poetry: Dot by dot of hurt by Pnina Shinebourne (UK) and Firs…


New Writing Prize 2013

Winners: Life Writing  Cliff Chen for Life Exchanges Poetry Anita Pati for A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Stealing Love Fiction Gita Ralleigh for Back at the Museum The winning entries were published in Issue 77 of Wasafiri in February 2014. Shortlist: Life Writing Tool by Mat Woolfenden S…


New Writing Prize 2012

At a special event at Asia House on Wednesday 3 October, John Haynes announced the winners of the 2012 Wasafiri New Writing Prize: David Houston for Wish You Were Here (Life Writing) C S Mee for The Walk (Fiction) Sally St Clair for In the Beginning and the End (Poetry) The winning entries are publi…

NWP 2011

New Writing Prize 2011

The winners of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2011 were announced by Fiction judge Brian Chikwava at a special event at Bush House in London. Winners: Richard Scott for Adin (Poetry) Michael Marett-Crosby for Room 618 (Fiction) Abeer Hoque for’ On Growing (Life Writing) The winning entries are publi…

NWP 2010

New Writing Prize 2010

The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2010 Winners and Shortlist The winners of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize were announced at a special event on October 14, at Somerset House, London. There were four winners this year: Noel Williams for ‘The Anthropology of Loss’ (Poetry) Barabara Jenkins for ‘It’s Cher…

NWP 2009

New Writing Prize 2009

The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2009 Winners and Shortlist The winners of Wasafiri’s prize for new writing were announced by poet and prize judge, Mimi Khalvati, on the 31st October in front of packed audience at the Purcell Room, South Bank, London. Ola Awonubi for ‘The Go Slow Journey’ (Fiction) Ro…



Helen de Burca

A Pair of Silk Stockings by Helen de Burca

In exactly two months, it would be her ninety-ninth birthday. This they murmured repeatedly, although sometimes she thought it had been only once. Between bouts of dozing, her eyes wandered over the walls and ceiling, often returning to a tiny wisp of abandoned cobweb in one corner. She liked to let…

Cheryl Anderson

Round Yard by Cheryl Anderson

Chicken a bawl We used to keep chickens in the backyard. They came to us by way of My Uncle Sam’s Ford Cortina; yellow exterior, black roof and two furry dice hanging from the rear view mirror. Class. We, that is my mother’s extended family and me, all lived in a four-bedroom house on Comerford Road…

Jill Widner

Dreaming in Latin by Jill Widner

Dreaming in Latin I feel as though I’ve been awake for hours or that I haven’t slept at all. But I must have. I was thinking of what you told me once about the solar plexus. The way it looks something like a dense spider web stuck onto the front of the aorta, but thick, as if years and years of spid…

Ola Awonubi

Five Minute Interview with Ola Awonubi

Ola Awonubi studied for an MA in Creative writing and Imaginative Practice at the University of East London and in 2008 her short story The Pink House, won first prize in the National words of colour competition. This was followed by another story – The Go-Slow Journey, winning the first prize in th…

The Cheekovit

The Cheekovit by HM Aziz

The Cheekovit The child is eavesdropping on her parents again. She’s seated cross-legged under the dining table, monitoring the situation in the kitchen. TUK-TUK-TUK. Tuk-tuhtuhtuh-Tuk. Tuk-te-Tuk-te-Tuk. That’s her father pounding onions and chillies for a sambal. Her mother goes TUK-TUK-TUK, TUK-T…

Rowyda Amin

Five Minute Interview with Rowyda Amin

Rowyda Amin is the author of two pamphlets, We Go Wandering At Night And Are Consumed By Fire (Sidekick Books, 2017), and Desert Sunflowers (flipped eye, 2014). In 2009, she was awarded the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for poetry and in 2012 she won the Venture award from flipped eye press. She has pe…